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Film / Red Sun

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Red Sun (Soleil Rouge) is a 1971 French/Spanish/Italian Jidaigeki Spaghetti Western directed by Terence Young.

Train bandit Link (Charles Bronson) is double crossed by his partner Gauche (Alain Delon), who steals a ceremonial sword sent as a gift to President Grant. Link hopes to find where the spoils are buried, but is forced to team up with one of the Japanese ambassador's guards, Jubei Kuroda (Toshiro Mifune), to recover the sword. Time is of the essence, however, as Jubei has a week to recover the sword or he will commit Seppuku.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Link.
  • Big Bad: Gauche Kink, the Outlaw who betrayed Link while stealing the sword Jubei is after.
  • Bilingual Backfire: Link thinks Jubei, who does not speak to him, does not understand English. Only after Link has insulted him, Jubei makes clear he knows English.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Several passages of dialogue are spoken in Japanese, such as Jubei's cry of "Matte!" ("Wait!"). Additionally, it's one of Mifune's few lines in the film where you can hear his actual voice (he's dubbed by Paul Frees in English)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jubei has died, but Link has changed his ways and recovered the sword safely.
  • Book Ends: In the opening and the final scene are set in the same train station, where a train is arriving.
  • Buddy Picture: Link and Jubei, two very different guys, unite against Gauche.
  • Casting Gag: One actor from Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune, and one actor from its remake The Magnificent Seven (1960), Charles Bronson, both appear in this film.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Link and Jubei fight, the latter easily surpasses the former thanks to his martial art skills.
  • Damsel in Distress: Cristina is captured by the Indians and Link and Jubei have to deliver her.
  • Due to the Dead: Jubei is killed on his mission, so Link does him a favour and gives him a proper burrial. He also make sure that the sword is returned, so Jubei will not have failed his mission.
  • End of an Age: Jubei explains to Link it is the end of the age of samurai.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Jubei teams up with Link, who has just robbed the train, to chase Gauche.
    • Later, Jubei and Link team up with Gauche and his mooks to face the Indians.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: A Western with a samurai.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: When Jubei washes in the mountains, Link steals his clothes and then forces him to make a deal with him before giving them back.
  • The Hero Dies: Jubei is shot by Gauche, but Link manages to complete his quest.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: For example, Link cuts with a bullet a leather strap that the Indians have put around Cristina's neck to strangle her.
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Jubei, who is always calm, but very determined.
  • Meaningful Name: Gauche is French for "left" and Gauche is left-handed. Link comes from the German word "links", meaning "right", as he opposes Gauche.
  • Miss Kitty: Pepita, an ex-prostitute who is now the owner of the brothel.
  • Ms. Fanservice: There are several scenes where Cristina (Ursula Andress) does not wear many clothes. Capucine, who plays Pepita, the madam, and Mónica Randall, who plays a prostitute, also qualify.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Gauche betrays Link during the train job. Later, he kills the mooks who have buried the loot.
  • Odd Couple: Link, an outlaw, and Jubei, a samurai who worships obedience, duty and honour.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Link asks Jubei not to kill Gauche immediately, but to wait for one day so that he can be questioned. The first time, Link threatens to drown Jubei to force him to accept, but it does not work, so he gives up. The second time, he threatens to leave Jubei naked and soaked to the skin in the mountain. This time it works.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Or in this case a sword. Jubei does quite well with it, but eventually he gets shot by Gauche.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Gauche accomplishes one of these during the beginning when one of the train passengers tries to reach for a gun.
  • Only in It for the Money: Link isn't interested in helping Jubei out on his mission. He just wants the money that was stolen and wants to keep Gauche alive until then. Subverted: In the end, he kills Gauche even if he knows Gauche is the only one who could tell him where the money is. He does it to avenge Jubei's death.
  • Plot Armor: After the attacks by the Indians, all the mooks of Gauche are dead. Only the main characters are still alive: Link, Cristina, Jubei and Gauche.
  • Police Are Useless: A sheriff is easily neutralized by Gauche in the beginning, then Gauche, Link and their accomplices get rid of a troop of soldiers.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni is Link (he is an outlaw; he drinks a lot...). Blue Oni is Jubei (he is very respectful of samurai tradition; he is even willing to commit seppuku if he cannot do his duty).
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A samurai teams up with an outlaw to pursue the gang who stole a precious sword from the former and betrayed the latter. They kill several mooks in the process.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Link tracks Gauche easily.
  • Samurai Cowboy: A genre-specific example. The movie is set in the Old West with cowboys but there is also a samurai emissary as one of the main characters.
  • Seppuku: This is what Jubei must do if he doesn't return the sword.
  • The Stoic: Jubei does not show his emotions, unless in very emotional situations, like when Link steals his clothes and he has to make a deal with him.
  • Train Job: The film starts with Link and Gauche robbing a train.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Gauche tries to kill Link after they robbed the train together. He also kills the mooks who have buried the loot.